A new political survey by pollster Ivan Moore shows that Alaska’s new ranked choice voting scheme would help U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski retain her seat, and would boost U.S. House candidate Nick Begich to victory. It also indicates that Gov. Mike Dunleavy would win re-election with a slim majority.

The survey of 1,201 likely Alaskan voters was conducted July 2-5, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9%.

The poll looks at two elections – the Aug. 16 special election to select a temporary replacement to serve out the remaining months of the late U.S. Representative Don Young’s term, and the Nov. 8 general election in which Alaskans will choose a full-term replacement for Young, as well as vote for governor and a U.S. Senate seat.

In the special primary to choose a temporary replacement for Young, the survey shows that Nick Begich would beat out Sarah Palin and Mary Peltola to win in the ranked choice voting paradigm.

The findings for the Nov. 8 regular general election assume that the candidates listed below would be the top vote getters in the Aug. 16 regular primary, and would advance to the Nov. 8 election.

The poll shows that a large percentage of voters have never even heard of many candidates. This includes U.S. House Candidates Mary Peltola (30.7%) and Dustin Darden (49.6%), gubernatorial candidates Charlie Pierce (52.5%) and Les Gara (25.8%), and U.S. Senate candidates Pat Chesbro and Kelly Tshibaka (19.6%).

As these candidates continue campaigning, their name recognition will likely grow, which could substantially alter polling results. Likewise, the survey was done prior to former President Donald Trump’s massive July 9 rally in Anchorage, where he enthusiastically endorsed Palin for the U.S. House and Tshibaka for U.S. Senate, while also briefly asking Alaskans to re-elect Dunleavy.

In early July, the most famous candidates were Palin, Dunleavy, Begich, Murkowski and former Governor Bill Walker.

One glaring omission from the polling data was gubernatorial candidate and current State Rep. Christopher Kurka. His name was not even included in the survey.

Ranked choice voting works by eliminating the candidate with the least number of votes after each round. The eliminated candidate’s second ranked choices are then redistributed to the remaining candidates. This process continues until one candidate breaks the 50% mark and wins.

With these considerable caveats in mind, here are the results of Moore’s survey with respect to the Nov. 8 general election:


Round 1

— Mary Peltola – 37.5%

— Nick Begich – 27.2%

— Sarah Palin – 26.9%

— Tara Sweeny – 8.4% (Sweeny eliminated)

Round 2

— Mary Peltola – 40.6%

— Nick Begich – 30.6%

— Sarah Palin – 28.8% (Palin eliminated)

Round 3

— Begich – 56% (WINNER)

— Mary Peltola – 44%


Round 1

— Kelly Tshibaka – 42.6%

— Lisa Murkowski – 35.3%

— Patricia Chesbro – 17.4%

— Dustin Darden – 4.6% (Darden eliminated)

Round 2

— Kelly Tshibaka – 44.7%

— Lisa Murkowski – 35.7%

— Patricia Chesbro – 19.6% (Chesbro eliminated)

Round 3

— Lisa Murkowski – 52.2% (WINNER)

— Kelly Tshibaka – 47.8%


Round 1

— Mike Dunleavy & Nancy Dahlstrom – 43.5%

— Les Gara & Jessica Cook – 25.8%

— Bill Walker & Heidi Drygas – 20.3%

— Charlie Pierce & Edie Grunwald – 10.5% (Peirce/Grunwald eliminated)

Round 2

— Dunleavy/Dahlstrom – 50.9% (WINNER)

— Gara/Cook – 26.4%

— Walker/Drygas – 22.7%

Click here to read the full survey results.

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Poll shows Begich, Murkowski & Dunleavy winning in ranked-choice voting

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.